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Tidal lagoon renewable energy plants could add £27bn to UK economy

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A new wave of six tidal lagoon power plants could contribute £27 billion to the UK economy over a 12-year period starting in 2015, according to a new study.

Plans for the world’s first tidal lagoon – a proposed £850 million project in Swansea Bay – are currently going through a phase of public examination.

The plant will enclose an 11.5 sq km area of the bay in a six-mile horseshoe shaped sea wall, using the ebb and flow of the tide to turn turbines and generate predictable renewable energy.

Tidal Lagoon Power Limited, the company that has put forward the plans, also hopes to build five more lagoons around the UK coastline within the next decade. 

In a new study published on Wednesday by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), analysts say these plants would add billions to Britain’s economy during the investment programme from 2015 to 2027.  

Because many of the required components can be sourced from the UK, the study finds that tidal lagoons represent one of the best returns on investment in terms of GDP impact in the energy sector. 

There would also be big potential for exports of up to £70 billion, as the UK could become a world leader in tidal lagoon technology.

Overall, the report says that six lagoons could create or sustain as many as 39,700 jobs while accounting for 0.24% of annual GDP. They could also sustainably provide as much as 8% of the UK’s electricity and build security of supply. 

“The UK is losing its hard-fought energy independence and struggling to identify genuine drivers of growth. We’ve been here before,” said Douglas McWilliams, executive chairman and chief economist at Cebr.

“The response in the 1970s was to support a domestic offshore oil & gas industry which became a world leader and has delivered huge benefits to the UK economy. 

“This report shows why today’s response to the same challenges to energy sovereignty and economic growth would do well to exploit the new opportunity presented by tidal lagoons.” 

A separate report, recently published by Pӧyry Management Consulting, also concluded that further lagoon projects could provide energy significantly cheaper than offshore wind farms – the government’s preferred renewable energy source.

Should the plans receive approval, Tidal Lagoon Power Limited hope that construction will begin in Swansea in spring 2015, with the world’s first tidal lagoon-sourced electricity generated in 2018. 

The project is expected to generate 495 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean, green electricity for every year of its 120-year lifetime. That is enough for 155,000 homes – or about 11% of Wales’ domestic use.

“The UK will soon decide whether or not to embrace tidal lagoon infrastructure,” said Tidal Lagoon Power CEO Mark Shorrock.

“Having analysed all of the costs and all of the savings associated with this decision, this study clearly demonstrates that the annual benefits to the national economy would be enormous, immediate and long-lived. 

“To realise this opportunity in full, we will have to marry economic benefit with environmental sensitivity and social acceptance.”

Photo: Tidal Lagoon Power Limited

Further reading:

Good Energy invests in Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Tidal lagoons could provide cheaper electricity than offshore wind

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon plans accepted for consideration

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon could inject £300m into Welsh economy

Application submitted for ‘game-changing’ Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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